December 18, 2007
Tifton -- Family Christmas traditions often include a ride to see all the colorful lights in a community, but not many of us know who makes sure we have plenty to see.
People have plenty more to see this Christmas in Tifton's Fulwood Park than ever before.
The more people who see a Christmas light show the better, especially to those who create them.
Rarely do we get to salute the show's creators, who often think about Christmas all year, people driven to perfection to have every light burning, conscientious people like Billy Trevena.
"The small things I can fix out there. The rest I take to the barn," says Billy as he drives his truck around the park's display long before sun-up. In the darkness, he can easily see which bulbs work and those that don't.
He has a Christmas shop dedicated to Christmas light repair and creation.
"I'm a kid at heart. I love Christmas lights. I love the holidays," says Billy as he clamps a lighted snow flake into his work table.
He started 20 years ago lighting a park, adding more decorations, involving more people who wanted to share in the joy.
"My superintendent, he builds them and I light ‘em," says Billy, who is primarily responsible for a holiday show that lasts 45 days.
"We start week of Thanksgiving setting up the lights and keep them burning through January 2nd," says Billy.
Some of the lights can't take the long hours.
"We've had strings already burned out and they were new strings, says Billy with a little surprise in his voice.
He finds the Grinch that stole Christmas and his mean friends visit occasionally.
"They'll pull a bulb out here and a bulb out there," says Billy.
Causing the light to fail, but not for long. Billy keeps the Grinch on the run.
"I don't really get tired. My hands get sore," says Billy as he removes damaged lights from one decoration.
While many people feel stressed during the holidays, Billy doesn't.
"It's fun. It's a good stress reliever for me," says Billy, who is a second generation Christmas light designer.
"My daddy use to decorate quite a bit. I got it from him," says Billy, who has a yearly challenge.
"To out do what we did before," says Billy.
He out did himself, creating his own sleigh, often riding through the park, asking boys and girls what they want for Christmas, when something mysteriously happened.
Was he the real Santa Claus here to take last minute requests? In a flash, he was gone, but you could hear him say.
"Ho, ho, ho. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night."
It was him.